UN Security Council blasts Libya clampdown
UNITED NATIONS, February 23 (RIA Novosti) - The UN Security Council on Tuesday called on Libyan authorities to immediately end their clampdown on protesters.
The Council members "condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians," Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, told journalists following closed-door talks on the situation.
According to international organizations, up to 500 people have been killed and up to 4,000 wounded in clashes with government forces since protests against longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime began on February 15.
The Council "called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue," Viotti said.
Earlier Tuesday, Gaddafi said defiantly in a televised address to the nation that he would not quit despite a countrywide uprising, was ready to die as a martyr in his home country and vowed to quell protests. He said he would "cleanse Libya house by house" if protesters refused to surrender.
The Council members also urged the Libyan government to meet its responsibility to protect its population, act with restraint, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and allow immediate access for rights monitors and humanitarian agencies.
"They underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians," Viotti's statement also said.
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